As she was writing this post the other day, I asked Malia how she would describe our friendship. After going back and forth for a few minutes, and a lot of "LOL", here is the best I can come up with - ours is a friendship that could only exist in our internet/technology obsessed world today.
By chance (and perhaps my inability to stop being a "social worker" for even 3 seconds), Malia and I met online - on a website/forum that had absolutely NOTHING to do with social work or adoption or anything remotely related to the blog post you are about to read. And yet, we somehow got on the topic of adoption. Malia was adopted as an infant and though she knew she was adopted growing up, she didn't know much else about her biological family. But she was at a point where she wanted to know more - or more accurately, wanted to know them.
And suddenly, through what must be hundreds of emails, thousands of text messages (thank goodness for unlimited texting plans!), and many, many hours on various instant messengers - I I was getting a very personal look into what adoption reunion feels like. And here, is your little peek, in Malia's own words:
The day was July 6th, 2009, and I was riding a roller coaster in Houston, Texas. I was screaming violently in the very back row. Next to me, my riding partner's scream was identical to mine, and equally loud. Mentally, I laughed at the situation in which I found myself. I was physically experiencing what I had been emotionally living for the past five months: a roller coaster. My companion, the only other person carrying on as fervent a racket as I had been, was my mother. My first mother, the one who abandoned me to strangers the day I was born, never to hear from me again. That is, until a winter afternoon nearly 19 years later. It was day four of my five day trip to meet her, in person, for the first time.
January 30th is the first anniversary of my reunion. And I'm not sure what to think of that. I hate that this had to happen-- that I had search my mother out in the first place and that neither of us got to experience my first 18 years of life together. Though my two-hour Internet search is infinitely small when compared to those of some of my adopted comrades (who have been known to spend years actively searching), it was more than six years in the making. When I was in middle school, I swore to my mother (in an old diary) that I would meet her one day. There was never any question that I was going to find her. I was going to find her or die trying.
When I first made contact with my mother, as SocialWrkr24/7 can attest, my emotions were everywhere (hence the roller coaster allusion). I was completely thrilled to have answers to my questions (yes, even when the answers weren't exactly heartwarming), and it was indescribable, how I felt, when I learned that my mother wanted to know me and that she missed me. The feeling was just as hard to define when I was told about my two brothers (who both knew of my existence). My family wanted to learn about me. They even offered to pay for my tickets to Texas so I could meet them.
In the coming months, I learned as much about my family as I could. I finally had an identity, and didn’t have to live in the dark anymore. I discovered that I hadn’t fallen from the sky, as I told myself when I was young. All my preconceived notions about my first family disappeared. I learned that my mother, father, and extended relatives were all human. They aren’t perfect. In fact, they’re an extremely dysfunctional family. But the truth is-- that doesn’t matter to me. I’m far from perfect. My adoptive family has its own measure of dysfunction, as well.
Sure, maybe I would've been worse off had I been kept. I might have followed my brothers' footsteps and broken contact with our mother. I also probably wouldn't have been so interested in my ancestry had I not been relinquished and subsequently adopted. But, as I've come to believe, those things would have been left to me to decide had I been kept. I could have decided what I wanted to do, but everything was determined for me, without my consent, and sealed (metaphorically speaking) in concrete.
I was talking to an adopted friend the other day, and I was trying to accurately explain to her what I wanted most for my mother to understand. I was rambling on about how she firmly believes that she didn’t give me up, but gave me more [in my life]. I didn't have a way to explain to her how I don't care that I got what she perceives to be more. My friend told me that I need to tell my mother that what I wanted growing up wasn't more-- that I wanted her, my mother.
It's really as simple as that. If I had to give up my life as I know it now in exchange for growing un-adopted and as her daughter, I'd do it right now. Is that so strange?
You can get to know Malia better at her blog - Irrevocably Adopted - its brand spankin new! Its not "all adoption, all the time" - but it is All Malia!
(And I'll take this moment to say - FINALLY! I've been nagging her to start one FOREVER!)
And I want to take this moment to thank her for letting me come along for the ride (good thing I like rollercoasters!) Though we don't always agree on everything, I have learned so much from you! I'm sure you've wanted to strangle me sometimes - my naivete has led me to be plenty insensitive and difficult at times, I am sure! But I truly value our friendship - it is certainly like no other. And I wouldn't have it any other way!